The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy recently conducted a test to establish a modular underway replenishment system (UNREP) on a civilian ship, to successfully provided logistics support to naval ships at sea.
The UNREP experiment at sea involved PLA Navy’s Type 054A frigate Linyi (547) and the civilian ship Fuzhou.
Fuzhou, as the control ship that was pre-installed the modular replenishment system, set up the ship-to-ship transfer system with Linyi while underway and holding station in close proximity. Then the dry cargo container on Fuzhou ship was mechanically picked up, engaged to a trolley that rode a wire rope between the ships and raised to the deck of the Frigate Linyi. The entire process took only 30 minutes.
In the afternoon, Fuzhou Ship set up the receiving device of the UNREP system with alongside Type 903 comprehensive supply ship Taihu (889), and successfully completed the cargo transfer.
The modular UNREP system was co-developed by Naval Research Institute and the Navy’s Northern Theater Command. The module is electricity-driven with large power storage, highly integrated and compatible with different types of vessels, which can easily be installed on civilian ships.
Using civilian ships to carry out UNREP for naval ships is a new attempt in the field of naval logistics support. The civilian vessels cover a wide range of routes, thus have large potential for replenishment at sea, which implies remarkable military-economic benefits.
“The success of the test provides important technical support for the future development of underway replenishment control technology”, said a statement from the Navy.